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Rhode Island Real Estate Prices Rising, Sales Slowing, Now What?

By Eleanor Boschert

The data doesn't lie. The Rhode Island real estate market is off and running. According to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, numbers for the second month of 2013 reveal that median home prices are up double digits, to 12% over the same time last year. Furthermore, February marked the fifth consecutive month of rising prices with single-family median home prices spiking up from $170,000 to $189,000. For the condo market, the numbers jumped substantially to 55% over last February from a median price of $125,000 to $193,400.

But, with the number of homes on the market dipping 18%, sales activity has barely inched upward to 2% over last year. Foreclosures and short sales are down to 31% of sales from 37% last year, serving as an indicator that the economy is slowly stabilizing. This also factors into the overall decreasing supply of homes for sale, further spurring higher prices.

Market analysts also attribute the price rise and sales drop to active buyers taking advantage of the market early this year. It's now a wait and see scenario as warmer weather combined with cyclical lifestyle and housing changes will alter the course of sales and price trends.

Nonetheless, in this increasingly competitive market bereft of inventory, buyers should keep a cool head, but be prepared to strike quickly when they find a home. You will need to take steps that will make yourself a buyer attractive to sellers and work towards a smooth, timely home purchase transaction.

  • Have all your credit and financing in place
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan
  • Find an agent who is highly dedicated and market-savvy
  • Be ready to offer a healthy down payment and earnest money deposit
  • Focus on what you really need in a home and where you want to live
  • Be prepared to present a strong offer with few contingencies or demands

These are, of course, smart tips for any buyer, under any market conditions. But with the housing market becoming increasingly ripe for a strong rebound, it's more important than ever for prospective buyers to put themselves in a proactive position to pounce.

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